Compulsory Schooling and Cognitive Imperialism: A Case for Cognitive Justice and Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples

  • Marie BattisteEmail author
  • James [Sa’ke’j] Youngblood Henderson


Compulsory education laws for Indigenous children in Canada based on Eurocentric knowledge systems have interrupted their normative holistic education, generated cognitive imperialism, induced cultural genocide and intergenerational trauma, and negatively affected their overall success outcomes for themselves and their self-determining communities. Contemporary educators, especially Indigenous educators, are now faced with ameliorative challenges for reconciling the traumatic, nihilistic effects of compulsory education, decolonizing the assimilation model, generating ethical space for Indigenizing the compulsory curricula, and creating a balanced compulsory curricula reform based on respect for constitutional rights of Aboriginal peoples and the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous peoples. Accomplishing these challenges, the authors assert, a critical examination of public schooling and the Indigenizing of the academy are set to generate innovative, better educational systems for Indigenous children in Canada based on the hard lessons learned from the past.


Aboriginal Indigenous Cognitive assimilation Eurocentrism Compulsory schools Indian Residential Schools Constitutional reconciliation Indigenization Holistic learning Cognitive justice 


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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marie Battiste
    • 1
    Email author
  • James [Sa’ke’j] Youngblood Henderson
    • 1
  1. 1.University of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada

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